A Little Laundry Experiment

It works best for our family for me to do all of the laundry, so I am always thinking about ways to streamline the process. Washing, drying, folding and putting away clothes for 11 people (now that Amelia is in her own little home) is potentially time-consuming. But, we’ve implemented some pretty great ideas through the years that make the whole chore less daunting.

For example, all of our clothing is contained in one room that we call the Family Closet. I have a 20-foot-long wall of heavy-duty shelving that holds seventy-eight 58-quart plastic storage bins that serve as our “drawers” for our seasonally current clothing as well as storage for our out-of-season (or waiting-to-be-grown-into-by-the-next-sibling) clothing. My washer, dryer and folding table are within steps of this wall and that makes it very easy to keep Mt. Washmore under control.

Well, I have greatly digressed because what I was going to describe was a little experiment that we did the other day. I had noticed that I was spending a considerable amount of time turning the kids’ shirts right side out to wash them. So, after supper the other night, I brought out 20 shirts from the dirty clothes that were turned wrong side out. I gave each child ONE of his or her shirts and I kept a pile of 10 shirts. Joey then timed each child (and himself) as he or she turned his or her shirt right side out, not rushing or racing, just keeping a natural pace. The average time was about 20 seconds.

Then, Joey timed me as I turned all 10 shirts right side out. Now, I am an expert, right? So I was pretty dexterous at my job. But, still, it took me two and a half minutes to turn every shirt right side out. The older kids quickly realized that I then spent about 30 minutes a week turning shirts (pajamas and t-shirts included, basically two per person per day, 6 days per week) right side out. That added up to 2 hours per month or, obviously, 24 HOURS per year. A whole day!

Let’s just say that I haven’t had to turn any shirts right side out since we came to that conclusion. Don’t I have some clever children?


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